Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

LIFE ISSUES

The Trouble With Religion!

 

A fairly damning case can be made by those who claim that more harm has been done in past centuries in the name of religion than possibly any other cause.   Not only can the advocates of such a claim point to the dark moments of religious history but their case is readily supported with evidence of current events taken from today's headlines.  

 

The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington were carried out by people who claimed to do so in the name of Allah. By and large the Islamic religious community has disowned those actions as being unrepresentative of the teaching of Islam.  

 

Parts of Northern Ireland has been a religious battleground for decades. There are repeated clashes between "Catholics and Protestants" but the sectarian violence shows some heartening signs of a lasting solution.  

 

As a Christian I am embarrassed as I have no option but to recognise the persuasiveness of the claim that religion divides people and nations. My defence mechanisms want to appeal to all the good that is done in the name of God. There are Churches and religious organisations that spearhead activities which meet many of the basic needs of disadvantaged and marginalised people.  

 

But the sad truth remains. Religion, which has such a potential to accomplish immeasurable good in our world, has an equal and corresponding potential for evil. In some ways religion is like fire. Fire has the potential to serve us in ways that can warm us and even save lives. But that same fire, taken to an extreme, can burn down a house and destroy life.  

 

It seems to me that religion becomes dangerous when we presume to take the great truths of faith revealed by God and attach to them our own human, self-serving agendas. Rather than simply love God and obey His truth, we choose to twist and turn His truth into our version of truth so that we can still be masters of our own lives.  

 

When that happens, planes are crashed into buildings, people starve by the tens of thousands, children suffer and heaven weeps. The answer is to have done with religion as we have made it and to return to true faith as God intended.              

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